Brainstorming Help!

Viewing 9 posts - 1 through 9 (of 9 total)
  • Author
  • #3021


    As my rewrite cools off, I am working on my next project. I am trying to think of two different things for this project, and after applying my head to the desk repeatedly, no answers have revealed themselves to me

    Therefore, I shall enlist you lovely ladies and see if you might have some ideas.

    Thing 1 (Idea? Element? Plot Hole? I don’t know what to call this 😀 Dr. Seuss works):

    Does anyone have any cool events in history they can point me to? I have a war going on in this WIP and I like reading up on wars in history to get a feel for how so many events line up to lead to war. Bonus points if this war can also lead to a character conflict.

    Example One: The Russian Revolution. Underclass over throws the Tsar, and the royal family is killed. For years people thought Anastasia escaped, but sadly she did not.

    So for my fantasy ideas, this nets me a lost prince in hiding who may or may not be trying to restore his family’s empire.

    Example Two: The Meiji Restoration in Japan. People overthrow the Shoguns who ruled Japan in fiefdoms, and restore the Emperor. Supposedly it was for the good of the people, but mostly it just meant a different group of wealthy people was ruling them now.

    Character idea: A samurai who was an assassin during the war supports the shogun and loses. During the Meiji Restoration samurai were disbanded and no longer allowed to carry swords. Character effectively has no job, and emotional wounds from all the people he killed.

    Sadly, neither of these scenarios work in my current WIP. I need a civil war though, brother vs. brother, and preferably with religious overtones, like the split of the Church of England from Catholicism. Or the conflicts in Ireland.

    If anyone has any thoughts, ideas, or cool moments in history I am all ears. As you can see I like reading history and extrapolating.

    Thing 2:

    This is open to everyone, not just the people who’re up on their history.

    I have a conflict between my main and secondary protagonists. They are like sisters, and extremely close. Until something happened. Something caused them to grow apart, and over time it’s come between them. Now they try to bridge that gulf, but there’s still a lot of past hurts and regrets. They can’t quite get back to being as close as they were.

    I feel like the event should be something that’s complicated, something that’s big enough for someone to carry years of hurt while pretending they are over it. No clear “You stole my boyfriend” right or wrong. It could also be a serious of events (and as I develop this, I will add more, smaller hurts to this).

    So, now I ask you to comb through what you’ve read, watched, or your personal life experience, either what you’ve experienced yourself or seen someone else experience, and offer up suggestions. You don’t have to admit to it happening to you if it’s really personal. You can be vague and use character A and character B if that would make things more comfortable. I am not trying to dig into anyone’s personal experience here or upset anyone, just hear other people’s thoughts on what might cause two people to break apart.

    I have this idea because this has happened to me with a family member. We were really close, and now we just can’t reach across that gulf no matter how many times we talk about it. I plan to use a lot of my personal experience, but I don’t want to make this autobiographical, just use my life experience to enrich a conflict between two characters.

    If you would rather email me on either of the two subjects, you can reach me at: writer (dot) elizabethpoole (at) gmail (dot) com.

    If anyone has any suggestions, big or small, I am all ears. It really helps me in this stage of the process to bounce ideas off of people, so thank you in advance for considering my issues.

    Also, if anyone else needs a critique or wants a brainstorming buddy, I am here!



    I emailed you 🙂 I don’t know if it will help, but it’s definitely something complex.



    For Thing #1:

    If you want brother vs. brother and civil war, look into the Onin War, which took place during the Muromachi era in Japan.

    If you want religious overtones, look into the Shimabara Rebellion. When the Tokugawa shoguns crushed that rebellion, they executed the leader (who was Christian) and from that point on, Christian persecution became that much worse.

    I don’t know if either of these things will work for you but maybe they might get some ideas flowing.



    What if one had a drug or alcohol addiction that got worse over time?

    It could start out as small issues and build into bigger ones that may or may not be unforgivable.

    Then the one with the problem gets sober. It may or may not be the time that really takes, but if B had the addiction, A would have probably heard the “I’m clean” line a million times. Person B could be the best person ever now, but person A who would still love them, would have a hard time putting all of that behind them without being leery to a point.


    Barbara G.Tarn

    I’m editing my historical novel at the moment (the fantasy projects are wrapped up) and if you’d like to go further back in history, well… the crusades. They were not only Christian against Muslim, but also Christian against Christian. I f you check more closely the third crusade, you can see the struggles between the “Franks” born in Palestine fighting against each other for the Kingdom of Jerusalem (lost to Saladin) while Franks coming from Europe tried to free the country from the heathens. DO NOT watch Kingdom of Heaven, the Wikipedia entry on Balian of Ibelin is more historically correct! 😉 Characters involved: Conrad of Montferrat vs Guy of Lusignan backed by Richard Lionheart or Philip of France, which made for a messy situation.
    About the other story and other topics… I shall email you! 🙂
    Happy writing



    Vernieda: Oooooo thanks! I love the brother vs. brother stuff on the Onin War! That’s a great complicated conflict. I love how there were two legitimate heirs. It certainly has gotten some ideas flowing.

    Xaenyth: Oooo I didn’t even consider that, but that’s a really good point. Even after the person gets sober there would be all this buried hurt and tension. Like a kicked dog. I am not sure if I want that to be the main thing that kicks off the split, but I can certainly use it as a fallout thing and something that drives a further wedge between the two of them.

    Or maybe not. Maybe I use it as the starting point. I have to think about it for a while. I’ve had bad personal experiences with addicts before, so I usually don’t make my main characters addicts because it would almost make me hate/not trust them immediately. I know I should be able to separate my personal experience from a fictional character, but I am not quite there yet. So maybe if I give it some time and I think it over, I might be able to see how it would work between the two characters.

    Either way it’s a potent suggestion!

    Barbara: How far back it goes doesn’t really matter to me. I am looking at the basis for conflict :D. The crusades are also a good suggestion. I sort of didn’t think about the Crusades because I did something with the plague in another book, so I just wrote off that time period in general. But you’re right! I could totally do something with all the strife and fighting back then.

    The really neat thing about history is there are so many events that lead to other events. The fall of the Roman empire, the Black Death, the conversion to Christianity, it all had to happen a certain way to set up the circumstances for the next set of events.

    Thanks for the great suggestion. I know there was a lot of conflict around that time period, so I should brush up on it.

    Thank you everyone for your help so far! You guys are AWESOME!


    Sharra S

    They could just have two separate things happen to them.
    For instance (in a movie I saw) two best friends joined different after school clubs (basketball and volleyball). From then, they had different schedules after school and began making friends with their teammates. This started them seeing each other at odd intervals after school ended.
    The next year, they then were placed into different classes. One had a friend from her club in the same class and due to them both really enjoying basketball grew really close. Soon it always seemed like the other girl was with them and the conversation seemed to stay on basketball. The volleyball girl felt left out from this. She started doing other things and soon was hanging around other girl who were interested in volleyball like herself.
    It was very slow, but over the movie they just ended up not speaking to each other.

    To complicate it, one girl could get a boyfriend and other girl could gain some wild friends where she ends up doing some really “stupid” things (drugs, vandalism, assault even).
    The girl with the boyfriend could alienate the other due to her constant fixation about him. The other could be rather uninterested in dating/boys so not understand the changes in her friend, but at the same time be jealous of the boyfriend because he is now taking the rest of her friends time that used to be hers. Now she’s rarely seeing her friend at all. Since she’s jealous, she then does not like the boyfriend and they get into arguments over her being rude to the guy. This leaves the other with time on her hands and a suppressed anger. She could make friends who are just as angry and get into fights with people. She could make friends who are into drugs and try some herself. Just some sort of rebellious medium. Whatever it is, she could get caught by some higher authority and then have that to deal with that and its consequences (I’m writing in mind of high school age –> being grounded, suspended from school, juvenile detention even). But at the same time, her friend-with-a-boyfriend could be really against drugs/violence/whatever which then causes more of a rift.

    Add to it (potentially):
    – the boyfriend could not like the friend back and puts little snide remarks in here and there
    – a miscommunication could result in a double stand up (they each thought a different place was the meet location and somehow couldn’t contact each other to reconfirm)
    – one friend is rude/mean to a new friend
    – one chooses to go to the local college while the other plans to attend some super fancy college the whole content away and never told her

    It is like a neat pile of small little things that together make a mountain.


    @elizabeth Oooo this is juicy. I’m useless on the first one, but every member of my family is out of their mind, so I’m going to email you some bits and pieces of things I can remember for your second question in case they might inspire. For instance, one of my sisters was given up for adoption, but then she hired an investigator when she turned 21 and came back and found her (my) biological mother. She and I are basically twins and we’re really close, but my other sisters are not close with her…it doesn’t cause tension for us, but it totally could have built up into an issue over the years and formed a rift if my other sisters were different types of people.

    I shall mine my sordid family history and send things your way!



    Sharra: Those are great ideas! I am slowly collecting everyone’s suggestions and synthesizing them into that mountain. Some issues will be bigger, I think, but I also like all of the other stuff that can further wedge the characters apart. Like incompatible activities and boyfriend issues.

    Maybe instead of one big thing pushing them apart and the little things adding up, it could be lots of little things that turns into the last straw. *gets shivers*

    That might even better, because even if I did something like “Character A is responsible for Character B’s brother death”, you can still apologize for that. You can work through that eventually. But how do you apologize for all the little hurts and betrayals?

    Miranda: Yay! I am glad you like this. I really love putting my characters through some serious internal conflict, and I am glad I’m not the only one. *innocent smile*

    And seriously? That adoption thing? That’s golden. It fits my characters surprisingly well.

    I didn’t get your email yet, btw. You might be busy or still working on it, but I thought I would let you know. I checked my spam filter and it’s not there either. 😀

    Xaenyth: Okay so I had some ideas, especially regarding the addiction thing.

    In this WIP these two best friends are basically sisters. One girl is a sidhe and the other is a human. The human girl is a changeling, which means her star chart (something super important in the sidhe culture) matches the sidhe’s perfectly. They were born at the same time. So when things are predicted they don’t know if the human or sidhe is the one being referred to, because cosmically speaking they come up as the same. Sort of like identical twins. (this is where I could use the adoption ideas).

    So they’re like sisters and they were super close. The human girl gets premonitions, and the sidhe gets what I call postmonitions–she sees past events, usually traumatic, when touching an object related to that event.

    I was thinking that there’s an injection that Seers can take to lesser the brutal effects of having a vision of either the past or future. But the human girl poo-poos this injection and is convinced she can control her gift herself (sort of like how some people think people shouldn’t take meds for ADD and ADHD).

    But the sidhe girl struggles with her gift. She has all these terrible memories of people dying in her mind. And maybe after a particularly bad vision, she starts to take the injection hoping it would make things better. So while all the small stuff is happening, she’s taking this injection, but later it comes out she’s taking it and it gets to be this big deal.

    THIS is why I love brainstorming with other people. Because I would have completely written off the drug/addiction thing, but now I’ve found an awesome way to make this work!

    You guys are so awesome. I cannot begin to thank you all for your help!

Viewing 9 posts - 1 through 9 (of 9 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.